Remarque? s All Quiet on the Western Front, a novel set in World War I, centers around the changes brought by the war onto one young German soldier. During his time in the war, Remarque? s protagonist, Paul Baumer, changes from a rather innocent romantic young man to a hardened and somewhat caustic veteran. The story also focuses on the lives of Baumer? s comrades. They all begin by patriotically marching off to join the army. However, their visions of the glories of war are soon swept away with horror as true friends die in the battlefield.
The soldiers go in fresh from school, knowing nothing except the environment of hopeful youth. At nineteen and twenty, they come to a premature and distorted maturity with the war… their only home. Throughout the length of the novel, Paul learns of the hardship war brings. He learns the destructiveness of war. During the course of his experience with war, Baumer disaffiliates himself from those societal icons– parents, elders, school, and religion– that had been the foundation of his pre-enlistment days, in order to mature. His new society, then, becomes the company, his fellow trench soldiers.
They are a group who understands the truth as Baumer has experienced it. A period of leave when he visits his hometown is disastrous for Baumer because he realizes that he can not communicate with the people on the home front. His military experiences and the home front settlers? limited, or nonexistent, understanding of the war do not allow for a discussion. When he arrives home and greetings are exchanged, he realizes immediately that he has nothing to say to his mother.
... Vietnam, many soldiers were impacted physically. Furthermore, the soldiers experienced extreme psychological problems. Due to the brutal nature of the war, soldiers ended up and ... fighting for and the people at home due to a social revolution. This caused soldiers to feel cheated but also feel ... of their friends in battle but also returned to a home that has been changed by a social revolution (hippie ...
? We say very little and I am thankful that she asks nothing? (Ch. 7 P. 141).
The fact that he does not wish to speak with his parents shows Baumer? s movement away from the traditional institution of the family. His mother finally speaks to him and asks, ? was it very bad out there, Paul? ? (Ch. 7 P.
143) However, Baumer cannot respond to his mother? s question: he understands that the experiences he has had are so overwhelming that? civilian language? , or any language at all, would be ineffective in describing them. Trying to replicate the experience and horrors of the war via words is impossible, Baumer realizes this and so he lies, and is able to restore his family? s faith in him. Any attempt at telling the truth would, in fact, trivialize its reality. However, family destruction is not all that Baumer sees, he experiences the physical destructiveness of the war, as well. As in any well prepared and fought war, human casualties and destruction is unavoidable. However, in a war where soldiers are not sufficiently trained, weapons are used too frequently, and hospitals are under developed, death is inevitable.
Baumer witnesses death and the pain that accompanies it all too much. ? Leer groans as he supports himself on his arm, he bleeds quickly no one can help him? (Ch. 11 P. 240).
This is not the first time Paul has observed death.
He has watched it numerous times before. It is unfeasible to contemplate that these sights have had no affect on Paul. Death is one of the most feared things in the world today, and Paul, at only 20 years old, has seen it all too often. However, Paul has also had an encounter with death that hit more closely to home– his own. ? He fell in October 1918, on a day that was so quiet and still on the whole front… All Quiet on the Western Front? (Ch. 12 P.
It was said in the book that Paul had fallen as if he was sleeping– he had no sign of suffering on his face. This is exactly how Paul wanted to leave. Paul was tired of life. It had nothing in store for him. However, it came too late for Paul for he had already experienced the misfortunes of war.
... of each other that chronicle the experiences of two separate young men in the same war. Paul Baumer, a nineteen-year old German soldier ... Front. This tragic story begins with Baumer in training camp and concludes with his untimely death. Archy, an eighteen-year old Australian ... they do not participate in the war, Baumer? s mother and Uncle Jack do not change like Paul and Archy? s friends. In ...
During times of war, physical ruin is not the only thing that is felt; mental deterioration is also encountered. Contrary to most beliefs, mental deterioration occurs when rage builds up inside. Rage against the enemy for murdering your comrades, or demolishing you homeland. However when the truth is revealed, that we are all brothers, true mental struggle is seen. ? Comrade, I did not want to kill you… Why do they never tell us you are poor devils like us… and that you have the same fear of death… If we could just throw away these riffles and this uniform you could be my brother… ? (Ch.
9 P. 191).
This passage shows one main thing… Paul evolving from a boy to a man. Paul? s maturity is truly seen in this one comment. Paul has grasped the concept that all men are created equally. A concept that today? s society has not fully understood.
When Baumer explains to Frau Kemmerich? s mother that her son is dead, another example of such metal destruction is seen. He assures Kemmerich? s mother that her son? died immediately. He felt absolutely nothing at all. His face was quite calm? (Ch. 7 P. 160).
Frau Kemmerich does not believe him, or, at least chooses not to. She asks him to swear? by everything that is sacred to him? , that what he says is true (Ch. 7 P. 160) He does it easily because he realizes that nothing is sacred to him.
By breaking this oath, Baumer shows both his unwillingness to communicate honestly with a member of the home front, and his rejection to God. It reveals that Baumer has no respect for anything anymore. As seen throughout the entire book, the destruction of war is great, on not only lives and property, but also on the human spirit. The young men in this book and of those of the times were subject to physical torment.
Eyes were blinded from such sights as, limbs being blown off, blood flowing everywhere, and innocent men dying in agony. When soldiers take shelter in the graveyard, bombs explode all around them; the living hide in coffins and the dead are thrown from their graves. The destructive power is so great that even the fundamental differences between life and death become blurred. I personally know of someone who has been impacted by war. My uncle served three years in the Iran-Iraq war, and from his stories, he hated every minute of it. He has told me of the villages lost and the lives ruined.
... further fuelled by a housing crisis. Following World War I, soldiers expected employment reforms and more opportunity for work rebuilding ... and disappointment at home conditions sparked resentment amongst service men. Men who had suffered expected some recognition and gratitude from ... desire of the troops to get back to normal life, but dissatisfaction and violent unrest resulted after the selective ...
He told me of the devastating impact war has on the human spirit; how those experiencing the wrath of war find themselves unable to return to civilian life. It? s very ironic if you analyze war closely, how so many people give up their own lives and freedom to preserve the freedoms of their fellow countrymen. War. It just does not make sense. This perception is seen in the book where, hundreds of thousands of young men gave up their lives for a fight that did not involve them. They died, in pain and agony, not realizing the reason they were fighting.
For this reason war, both in the book and real life, does not make sense. The Sorrows of War and the Glorious Lies Is it really worth it? Is the simple order by a superior officer enough for someone to spill the blood of innocent soldiers? In All Quiet on the Western Front, a novel by Erich Maria Remarque, a group of soldiers learn the hard way about the realities of war. They encounter trench warfare and hand-to-hand combat and slowly see how horrible the war is. Using the book, the author expresses his hatred towards war and how only evil comes from it. The emotions and actions of the soldiers represent the realities of war where brotherhoods are formed, the public is tricked in seeing war as good, and how deep inside everyone is the same. The soldiers in the Second Company form this bond between each other that represents that of all wartime buddies.
They develop these friendships where they depend on each other so that they can make it through the war. The young soldiers play cards, smoke together and joke around together to pass time when they are not fighting. Their reactions towards dying friends show their love for one another. ? Suddenly little Kropp throws his cigarette away, stamps on it savagely, and looking around him with a broken and distracted face, stammers? Damned sh t, the damned sh t! ? ? (page 18).
Even after their good friend Kemmerich passes away, the circle of friends is able to pull together and get through it all. They have a deep love for each other.
... her how she can still support the war after a thousand people have already lost their lives. She replies with her cynical wit ... considering the true facts that support this wage of war. Our own people and many other countries seem to have forgotten all ... so far as to turn in their own people simply to "help bring this war against this tyrant to a successful end ...
Some soldiers like Paul and Katczinsky even feel a father / son relationship with each other. ? We don? t talk much, but I believe we have a more complete communion with one another than even lovers have? (page 94).
The war has brought them together. It has made them rely on each other for survival and has brought them to forget the horrors of war. The soldiers fight because of simple orders.
They really have nothing to gain from it. Their superior officers don? t know what its like. They get out on the battlefield and cowardly turn away. All those people who romanticize war including Kantorek and Himmel stoss go to trench warfare and they see the real truth.
They see that they have misled the public with propaganda and their continuous actions to have people volunteer. ? Quickly I jump back into the dug-out and find him with a small scratch lying in a corner pretending to be wounded. His face looks sullen. He is in a panic; he is new to it too. But it makes me mad that the young recruits should be out there and he here? (page 131).
The soldiers are the ones who see the real war while the public sees only the nationalism and the patriotism.
They are the ones spilling the blood and not really seeing a good thing about war while the nation? s view is that they are winning. They don? t see all the strings attached to the word? winning? . They don? t see the blood being spilled nor do they see the loss of lives of innocent soldiers. Even these soldiers were at one time this way.
Many of them came into the war as volunteers who were persuaded by teachers, elders, and political personnel. ? During drill-time Kantorek gave us long lectures until the whole of our class went, under his shepherding, to the District Commandant and volunteered? (page 11).
They all really wanted to fight for their country but little did they know that they would be fighting without a good, valid reason. Throughout the war, they saw what they were getting themselves into, the murder of innocent soldiers just like them.
What defines murder? Can it be defined as willful, unlawful killing? The public does not consider these soldiers murderers but they themselves know full well that they are murdering people. They kill them because of a simple order, but do these orders justify their killing rampage? Deep inside all the soldiers come from the same background: fighting for their country and becoming heroes. But what makes a hero, the killing of other potential heroes? They have grown through war to understand that they are like all the other soldiers, fighting for the same pointless cause. Paul clearly sees this when he takes the life of a Frenchman. ? I do not think at all, I make no decision? I strike madly at home, and feel only how the body suddenly convulses, then becomes limp, and collapses? (page 216).
... A second chance is denied to a soldier of war. The soldier has only one chance to drop the bomb ... on what the current situations are, whereas a soldier depends solely on all the conditions, before and ... lives of everyone else in his care. The soldier is solely responsible for anything that could go wrong ... the very point of football, as killing and maiming are of war." The main points the author makes ...
He feels the responsibility to be the one to tell this man? s wife how he died and why he died.
Paul realizes that it was completely wrong and that the government had played with his mind making him think that the idea of killing at war was good. He also sees that if the situation was different, that all of them could be friends instead of enemies. The soldiers realize that they are all alike and that they have nothing to gain from their killing. The soldiers from this novel represent actual feelings about brotherhoods, misperceptions of war and the pointless fighting. They provide clear examples of these with their experiences from war.
From sitting on their? boxes? and chatting, to the realization of a friend inside an enemy, these soldiers have been able to see the realities of war and have shared it with the rest of the world. People can now see how horrid it is to be in a war and now they try at all costs to prevent war. War is bad, that? s all there is to it. Not much more you can say about it except that. When viewing the death of innocent people, the question is asked once again, is it really worth it?